England is known for its pretty villages and finding the ultimate frozen-in-time picturesque village has become quite a popular pastime – especially for those looking to escape the city smog. If you’re looking for a slice of your very own dreamy rural perfection then here is our Top 15 prettiest villages in England…
1. Polperro, Cornwall – one of the most picturesque villages in England
This picturesque village on the edge of a harbour was voted the prettiest village in Cornwall. Meander through the narrow lanes, see the unique and sometimes weird stores, take a boat trip out to one of the nearby islands and stop for a drink in one of the small pubs.
There is a heritage museum about the fishing and smuggling that has kept this village alive. Walk along the coast or along the river estuary which runs through the village for a particularly scenic walk.
2. Castleton, Peak District National Park – one of the best and most loved villages in England
Dating back to the 11th century this popular (and sometimes crowded in summer) village has many attractions in and around it. Known as the “Gem of the Peaks” here you can visit Peveril Castle, the Odin Mine or one of the four Castleton underground caves.
The surrounding rolling hills which surround the village on three sides can be explored along the numerous walking paths and there are many holiday cottages to stay in so you can stretch out your stay a little longer.
3. Castle Combe, Wiltshire – often hailed as the most beautiful village in England
Take a walk from Market Cross towards the By Brook through this village which is often called the prettiest village in England. Overlooking the village are the remains of an ancient castle fort. The lanes are lined with 100-year-old typical Cotswold houses where the artisans lived when the village was a major cog in the wool industry back in the Middle Ages.
The quaint English village has starred in films like Doctor Doolittle, Stardust and The Wolf Man. The wild animals love this village as much as tourists as it is in a conservation area and both the natural countryside and the buildings are protected by law.
4. Bibury, The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire – a quaint and gorgeous gem
Described by 19th-century artist-writer William Morris as “the most beautiful village in England” the narrow high street leads down to the River Coln where there is a cute river bridge.
The pretty Cotswold village is the typical village of the picture-perfect area, here you can see Arlington Row with weaver’s cottages from the 17th century and the Bibury Trout Farm or the village church of St. Mary. The remains of a hillside fort overlooks the village and the river splits the village in half, the river is full of trout and the river meadow, Rack Island is populated only by wildlife.
5. Clovelly, Devon – a stunning village perched high on a cliff
This is a private village with cobbled streets and no motorized vehicles along the high street. The village is built in a cleft of a steep cliff, surrounded by dense woodlands sloping down to the sea. The narrow lanes are lined with whitewashed cottages each adorned with colorful window boxes.
Donkeys carry goods up the hills and sledges bring them down but wherever you are there are breathtaking views of the sea. As a private village, there is an entrance fee to the village which is preserved meticulously by traditional craftsmen. Find some last-minute cottages for an idyllic summer break.
6. Amberley, West Sussex – one of the cutest villages in England
One of the beautiful downland villages situated between the Downs, Amberley Mount, the South Down Way and the River Arun. The river often floods in the winter and is responsible for the moist ground and nearby swamplands. The village castle is now a hotel and behind it is the Amberley Swamp. Visit the Amberley Working Museum to see antique agricultural tools and industrial machinery,
the museum also hosts an annual beer festival. For a local pint visit the Black Horse to see what the village houses look like from the inside. From the outside, the homes in the village are mostly thatched roofed with thick stone walls and all framed by colorful flower beds.
7. Mousehole, Cornwall – a pretty village which attracts discerning tourists
A sleepy but impossibly pretty fishing port and village located not too far from Penzance, Cornwall. With a cute and quirky name and boats which gently sway in the salty breeze this place is postcard pretty.
It’s also steeped in history – it was sacked by the Spaniards1595 and a hundred years ago it was a bustling port. Today it’s still filled with an old-world charm and it tends to attract discerning visitors.
8. Lamberhurst, Kent – a charming village home to a fairytale castle
The village is home to the Scotney Castle, surrounded by a moat, it is one of the most romantic castles in England. Here you can also see the Sprivers Horsmonden 18th century garden where there is a walk through the woodlands.
There are also several historic houses like the Georgian Finchcock house with a collection of keyboard instruments and the Victorian Ladham House. Get out into the stunning countryside and explore the Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest or the Lamberhurst Vineyard.
9. Haworth, West Yorkshire – a stunning village on the edge of Bronte country
Enter the Bronte country on the edge of the Pennine moors with wide-open expanses of fields. Take the steam train to the village and visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum where the sisters once lived. Along the cobbled high street are interesting stores, pubs and teashops housed in historic buildings.
The village hosts many events like the 1940’s weekend. Nearby walk along the country paths to feel like you are in Wuthering Heights, also visit the Bronte Waterfalls and Top Withens.
10. Ambleside, Lake District, Cumbria – a beautiful and traditional English village
Just outside the village of Ambleside is Stock Ghyll Force, a 21-meter high waterfall that is surrounded by daffodils in the spring. The water from the River Rothay flows into the village under the Bridge House and on to 12 watermills in the village. A walk down the high street of the village will give you a view of some of the mills and the countryside which can be seen over the rooftops.
11. Rye, East Sussex – a former smuggler’s village turned into a gorgeous tranquil gem
A gorgeous corner of South East England this East Sussex gem is as postcard-perfect as pretty villages come. It has a colourful past filled with smuggling and maritime conflict but today it’s a much more peaceful place and today visitors come for a labyrinth of winding streets and passageways, quirky shops, nature walks, charming traditional pubs and medieval inns and cafes. All in all a real delight, especially for stressed-out Londoners!
12. Flatford, Suffolk – a pretty village which was the inspiration for Constable’s famous painting
Quaint Flatford is close to East Bergholt in Suffolk and is best known for the 18th century Flatford Mill, Willy Lott’s Cottage (featured in the famous Constable’s painting “The Hay Wain”), the Granary Barn and Bridge Cottage. The thatched roof cottages are framed by greenery and the 16th century Bridge Cottage greets you as you arrive and cross over the picture-perfect wooden bridge.
Flatford’s oldest building is the 15th century Medieval Hall House. John Constable, one of the UK’s old masters immortalized the pretty hamlet in his paintings.
13. Aylesford, Kent – a beautiful village filled with historically important buildings
Kent – otherwise known as the Garden of England – has some serious contenders for the most beautiful village in England but definitely up there is the picturesque village of Aylesford. Located on the River Medway, the large but very pretty community is accessed through an impressive 14th-century medieval five-arched bridge.
The village is filled with interesting and historic buildings including 17th-century thatched barns and Aylesford Priory which was built in 1242 when the first Carmelites arrived from Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. It’s also home to the finest intact medieval courtyards in England.
14. Lynmouth, Devon – a stunning village in England with gorgeous views
Perched high atop the Glen Lyn Gorge, along a particularly beautiful stretch of coastline, is the gorgeous Devon village. Easily one of the most beautiful villages in England Lynmouth is centred around a small and postcard-pretty harbour and straddles the estuary of the East Lyn River.
It’s home to incredible views of the valley as well as a rocky beach, some charming traditional pubs, a quirky independent cinema and a handful of quaint antique shops and cafes.
15. Broadway, Cotswolds – a famous honeycomb-coloured village and beauty spot
Often mentioned as the most beautiful and picturesque village in England is Broadway. This famous small and traditional place in Cotswolds is filled with tourists during the summer (and the winter too0 all drawn by its reputation for being a Cotswold beauty spot.
The wide long Main Street is lined with traditional honey-comb houses as well as some excellent restaurants, antique shops and hotels. Stand-out buildings include The Lygon Arms Hotel a manor house that once hosted both Charles I and Oliver Cromwell and Broadway Tower which is the second-highest point in the Cotswolds so expect plenty of gorgeous views!
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